When you think about unlawful employment discrimination, you likely first think of race, sex, or religion. While these factors are involved in many discrimination cases, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits discrimination on additional factors, and one of those is national origin.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued guidelines regarding what constitutes discrimination based on national origin and how national origin discrimination laws are enforced. The following is some information about this type of discrimination so you can avoid it in your business.
What does “national origin” mean?
“National origin” can refer to a birthplace outside of the United States or the perceived birthplace outside the United States. For example, the following are both examples of national origin discrimination:
- Refusing to hire someone because they say they are from Iraq; or
- Refusing to hire someone because you believe they are from the Middle East when they were actually born in India.
Such a perception may be based on the fact that an employee has “physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics of a national origin group.” This can include the way a person looks, the way they dress or act, speaking with an accent, having a certain ethnic-sounding name, and other characteristics. In addition, employees are protected from discrimination based on the fact that their spouse has a certain national origin, that they associate with others of a certain national origin, attending a religious or educational institution that is associated with a national origin, and similar reasons.
Employees are protected from adverse employment actions such as:
- Refusal to hire
- Refusal to promote
- Retaliation for complaining of discriminatory or harassing acts
As an employer, being accused of any type of discrimination or harassment by an employee is a serious matter that can be costly and time-consuming. It is always best to have policies and training programs in place to avoid any type of discrimination or harassment to begin with. In the event that your business is accused of violating any laws enforced by the EEOC, your first call should be to a skilled employment and business attorney to discuss your options.
Call 732 238-8686 today for more information.
At the law office of Bowne Barry & Barry, we can help you prevent discrimination with policy planning, as well as assist you if you are accused of unlawful discrimination. Please contact our office to discuss the legal needs of your business today.